From “buy local” to “grow local”

As an aspiring farmer and local eater, the phrase “grow local” encompasses more of the values I want to see in our society, where the emphasis is less on a culture of buying and more on a culture of growing.

The benefits of growing your own food can be manifold—such as reducing your carbon footprint via the miles food traveled to reach your plate, knowing if any chemicals were used to produce your food, eating fresher, and becoming more in tune with nature. And it’s also easier to do than you might think. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned working on farms over the past two years is that it doesn’t take much time, effort, or space to grow a meaningful amount of food for one person.

I’ve illustrated below an example of growing kale in a container with potting mix—an easy way to get a plant started if you don’t have garden space or soil. Try it yourself or with your favorite vegetable. Maybe one day having vegetables growing at your house will be as common as having house plants.

Written by: Li Schmidt // Photos by: Ruven Stein

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A bag of organic potting mix ranges $15-$20. Try combining with compost to maximize use.
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For kale, use a planting pot that is at least five gallons. The plant will reach 3-4 ft in height once mature.
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Plant seedlings usually range $1-2 at a nursery. Seedlings give the plant a better chance at reaching maturity because of more advanced root development.

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Place the planted pot in a sunny location.
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Water with a gallon once a week or more, depending on soil moisture. The soil should be moist an inch under the surface of the soil.
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Harvest the lowest leaves on the plant 1-2 times a week and enjoy! Your plant will be harvestable for about six months with proper care.
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